Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador has vowed not to allow the Special Branch to be used as a government tool as it was used by the previous administration to silence dissidents.
“Special Branch is not a tool to suppress critics and I will not let that happen.
“It is good that the new administration is allowing dissidents to speak up and allowing democracy to be practised,” Abdul Hamid told The Malaysian Insight in an interview.
However, he said, there should be a perimeter for all players to respect.
"If you cross that line, we will act," said Abdul Hamid, who once headed the Special Branch.
"Malaysia is now reaching the process of maturity. It is good for the people to realise on their own, rather than to suppress them."
Politicians the 'most notorious' ones
Abdul Hamid said politicians were responsible for the rise of racial and religious hatred and he likened them to "chameleons" when it came to playing the race and religious cards.
"The most notorious ones are the politicians. They have no fixed principle. One day they will jump here and another day, when they see an opportunity, they will turn the other way," he said in the interview.
"When you politicise race and religion, it can bring down the country.
"When I was the deputy director (of the SB) and Akhil Bulat was the director, we engaged with all stakeholders.
“We engaged with the National Security Council, religious authorities and community leaders to tell them that it was very dangerous to allow race and religious issues to be played (up) by politicians," Abdul Hamid said.